The Scarlet Witch is a character who’s always seemed to be defined by the people around her, such as the Avengers or her brother, Quicksilver. It wasn’t until she received a solo series that readers were able to see her develop and grow. Scarlet Witch Vol 2: World Of Witchcraft, written by James Robinson, follows Wanda as she tries to fix broken magic. But every time she uses a spell, it takes years off her life and saps her strength. Along the way, Wanda tries to come to terms with her own mental health issues, which adds another layer to the graphic novel.
The story begins with Wanda venturing to Paris to help France’s greatest hero, Le Peregrine. Having lost his wife Adele, Le Peregrine is unable to fly and feels impotent. Summoning her strength, Wanda conjures Adele’s spirit. Seeing his wife, Le Peregrine attempts to jump to his death so he can be with his wife, only for Wanda and Adele to scold him. Adele reminds her husband that he needs to keep fighting for good and they’ll be reunited in the end. The winged hero’s happiness is restored and he thanks Wanda for her help. Wanda’s Parisian adventure is a touching story that sees her mental health issues reflected in Le Peregrine’s depression. Both of them are trapped by ghosts they can’t escape, and it takes a literal ghost to remind Le Peregrine of his worth.
The Scarlet’s Witch’s next stop is Hong Kong, where she seeks the help of a young witch called The Wu. An evil warlock, the Dark Tongji, has enslaved innocent souls to feed his power. The Wu’s mother was killed by the Dark Tongji and she spent years trying to hide her magical abilities and focusing on her career as a cop. The witches confront the Dark Tongji and instead of being defeated by magic, he’s killed by a single bullet. The twist made the story more exciting because I’d been expecting a grand, magical battle.
Afterwards, Wanda returns to New York for counselling sessions. Her therapist suggests that although she’s feeling more confident, she refuses to deal with her past and remains frozen in place. It turns out that Wanda’s ‘therapist’ is actually a criminal called The Ringmaster who tried to hypnotise her into stealing for him. Wanda allowed Ringmaster to believe he’d succeeded because she genuinely found his psychiatric advice helpful. She resolves to confront her demons and even though he’s arrested, Ringmaster is glad that his advice brought her peace.
Wanda also goes on a Japanese adventure and stands up to her brother about choosing to live her own life. It’s great to see Wanda take control of her own destiny and see how far she’s come. Robinson instils the character with a quiet confidence that builds throughout the graphic novel. What begins as a spark turns into a inferno of mental health positivity. The Scarlet Witch comes to terms with herself and accepts that although magic might be broken, she isn’t.
Robinson’s creativity is to be admired because he creates a strong supporting cast. Le Peregrine and The Wu are interesting characters and I’d enjoy seeing them show up in future comics. The art is varied, with the duties handled by Marguerite Sauvage, Annie Wu, Tula Lotay, Joelle Jones and Kei Zama. I enjoyed every panel and each artist gets their moment to shine. Overall, I’d say my favourite art is Lotay’s because she gives Wanda a kind of grace and elegance that crackles in every scene.
The second volume of Scarlet Witch’s solo series builds on the brilliance of the first volume. Robinson has redefined Wanda Maximoff for a new generation.